I can’t remember exactly when I fell in love with California, but some time between the ages of 5 and 15, I did. Southern California more than anywhere else. Maybe it was the weather, or the Summer vacations to Disneyland and visiting the home of my former-Trojan Grandfather who never left, but I knew that at some point in my life I would have to live here. Why not in college, when for the first time you may have the freedom to live anywhere you want?

At the time I was applying to college, I didn’t really know where I wanted to go, or what I wanted to study. I’m from Virginia, so there were a lot of great state schools (in-state tuition, not too bad), but then there was California. Not close, but why not? Be Adventurous, I told myself. So I applied. And visited. And got accepted. And visited again. And couldn’t NOT go here.

What I learned about USC was that we have everything. Really! There’s beaches to the West, mountains just a bit farther to the North, and, well, Disneyland to the South. The campus itself is conveniently bikeable, with all the resources of a city, not to mention Los Angeles! I told my parents that living in a place with gorgeous weather was good academically, because I would have no excuse to skip class. Of course they liked that logic, and now it’s true. I still go to class when it rains, though, it’s just not as fun.

When I said USC has everything, I mean it. I wanted to study engineering, but what if I’d changed my mind? Well, it’s not exactly a tragedy to switch into the Marshall, Roski, or the Cinema school, so I knew that I wasn’t just choosing Viterbi, a great engineering school, but also a university to be proud of someday as an alumna.